Normative language policy and minority language rights: rethinking the case of regional languages in France
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Building on the emerging notion of ‘normative language policy’, this article seeks to contribute to the further development of an integrated framework for researching the ethics of language policy and planning. Using the case of minority language rights in France as an example, it demonstrates the benefit of combining context-sensitive or empirical approaches as traditionally used in language policy and planning research with a nuanced normative ethical analysis as employed in political philosophy and political theory. After outlining the foundational work on minority rights that has emerged within contemporary liberal theory in particular, it considers some limitations of this work in the French context specifically. It then examines ways that recent theoretical advances in liberal theory can nonetheless shed new light on the minority languages debate in France. It concludes with a critical overview of a new model for the management of the country’s regional languages recently proposed within republican theory, as a further example of the benefits of a normative language policy approach.
- Linguistics